The Background Behind the Race
I signed up for my first 100 mile trail race, the Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile, along the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota. I simply couldn’t hold back any longer. One hundred miles is my dream race and all it took was a little motivation from some others in the sport, and I committed.
Here is the course description from the race web site:
The Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile Trail Run is a point-to-point, 100% trail run, starting at the Gooseberry Falls State Park Visitors’ Center, and finishing near Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen. Runners will have access to fourteen aid stations between the start and finish, and will never go more than 10 miles without an opportunity for aid. More than 99% of the course is on the Superior Hiking Trail.
I am so excited, I can barely sleep at night.
These are all the elements of a trail race that I love so much. I love gnarly and difficult and this race has a reputation for being one tough race with lots and lots of technical trail to negotiate over the entire hundred miles.
One hundred miles. I can’t believe I am gonna give it a shot – But I am.
Why I am choosing Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile
When something just feels right, you know it. I chose this race for many reasons, all of which seemed to fit perfectly into my ultra infatuation.
The race is 100% trail – Road races are ok, but nothing is like running in the trails with all the serenity, nature and potential wildlife sightings. The trails are magical for me. Most trail races have portions that are run along roads, or portions that are run on terrain that is similar to the road. I like that this race is all trail, all the time.
It’s point-to-point – For me, loop courses have no draw. Now, if it’s a timed event, and the goal is to get as many loops as possible in a given time period, ok; but, for long ultras, I enjoy running from point A to point B …city to city …state to state, whatever, It’s the journey that is a big part of the race for me.
Generous cut-offs – I was heart-broken at the Mountain Masochist 50-Mile Trail Race when I missed the cut-offs. I was rebounding and I wanted to continue to the finish. The Superior Sawtooth has a 36-hour cut-off for the 100 miles and I am confident that if I can keep moving that long, I can cover the miles in this race.
Stunning scenery and nature – This race is known for having some of the most beautiful trails in all of ultraruning.
The course is tough – I love it tough. I like roots and rocks and steep uphills and hairy downhills. Taking a line from NWA – “If it a’int rough, it ain’t me” – I am excited for the rugged, difficult course. To me, that’s a component to what ultramarathons are all about.
Low-key – Last year, there were only 36 entrants and 25 finishers – one of which being Susan Donnelly, a racer I admire immensely. That sort of personal journey, with only a select few, is very appealing.
The timing works – The race fits in perfectly with the rest of my 2008 race schedule.
I’ve never been to Minnesota – I’ve been a lot of places, but I have never been to Minnesota. All I ever hear is how raw and beautiful it is there, and I can’t wait.
So there it is. My first 100 miler will commence on September 5, 2008
Wish me luck.